Welcome to the Valley!

A close examination of language — its power to inform and misinform, to elucidate and obfuscate — from renowned Columbia University linguistics professor John McWhorter.

A true polymath, John analyzes the words and phrases that dominate our discourse and make the headlines. At Booksmart Studios, Lexicon Valley continues its tradition of dissecting this messy, maddening and thoroughly wonderful thing we call language. While retaining the show’s trademark nerdery and eccentricity, John is redirecting it considerably to take on issues from the current headlines and discuss our weekly reality through the spoken and written word.

Longtime listeners will know that John has always had a mantra of sorts as host: Everything is happy here in the Valley. No more. From now on, he’ll be stepping outside of that amiability at times to address how language rankles as well as assuages — in other words, all of what language actually is.

Become a subscriber.

If you love Lexicon Valley, please consider becoming a paying subscriber. For just $5/month, you’ll get extra bonus segments and the ability to ask John linguistic questions that he may answer in his biweekly Q-and-A! Plus you’ll be supporting all the work we do here at Booksmart Studios. Thank you for your support.

Questions? Comments? E-mail booksmartstudios@gmail.com and one of our producers will get back to you as soon as possible.

Subscribe to Lexicon Valley from Booksmart Studios

A podcast about language, with host John McWhorter.


John McWhorter is the host of Lexicon Valley. In his spare time, he teaches linguistics at Columbia University and writes a regular column for the New York Times.